was a 2 MHz 8080A, running at 1.8432
MHz so that it could be easily divided to produce
standard baud rate clocks. The 8813 used
3KB of ROM, none was optional - in
the original Poly-88, 1K was standard, 2K optional. No
sound output, though we occasionally
added an S100 board for that. I
would debate the other statement
that it "didn't have an OS" - it was
quite sophisticated except for its
disk allocation strategy, which as noted required
a "pack" operation
to recover space from deleted files.
For programmers, an outstanding feature
was the "software front panel" which
allowed modifying memory and single-stepping through a full-screen interface. Years
ahead of its time.
Poly programs were written in BASIC or 8080 assembly. They had a
macro assembler which supported source code spanning multiple files and
In my opinion, the Poly was one of those "technically excellent, died of poor
marketing" stories like some of the early Apple computers.
I was given a Poly-88 kit in 1979.
The Poly-88 did have a graphics mode of sorts. Each character was divided
into 6 rectangles (3 high by 2 wide). So on a 16 row by 64 columns display
would translate to a 48 by 128 graphics mode.
The sample programs that came with the Poly-88 included "Graph"
programs that would plot a sine wave. Also an early edition of Dr Dobbs
magazine had a "Robots" game which utilised this graphics
mode. They published the program source in Hex, which took me quite
awhile to key in.
I made the mistake of buying a 64KB RAM card (CDN$400 when I bought it
in 1980) to put in my poly only to discover the Assembler wouldn't work
with the card; there may have been a problem with basic as well. The first
thing the assembler did was search for the end of memory, it wrapped around
back to zero, where the monitor was located and concluded that there was
no RAM in the system. I had to disable the top bank of memory on the card
to get the assembler to work so I ended up running it with 48K.
When I emigrated to Australia in 1988 I left the Poly with a neighbour
to be donated to a hight school, don't know what became of it.